MINNEAPOLIS — Strikers are often judged by the amount of balls that they put into the back of the net. These last two weeks, however, Minnesota United’s Christian Ramirez has had two goals that he would love to take back.
Minnesota fell, 2-1, at home to the LA Galaxy on Sunday, and the decisive tally was an 84th-minute own goal from Ramirez. The play on its own would have been frustrating enough for Ramirez given that it cost his team points, but it was doubly so because he had accidentally pushed a ball into his own net last week in a one-goal loss to Toronto FC.
“As I was planting my foot, [the ball] hit my knee and went side foot and went to the net,” Ramirez said of the set piece whipped in by Romain Alessandrini. “It’s frustrating on my part to go back-to-back weeks with own goals. I leave it all out there for however long I’m out there. To come up short against my hometown team, especially on an own goal, that’s frustrating.”
For Minnesota center back Brent Kallman, the foul that set up the free kick that Ramirez misplayed was a questionable one.
“It wasn’t a foul to me,” said Kallman, who was whistled for the infraction that gave the Galaxy the free kick. “I took a bad touch, and the ref called the foul. From there, it’s really difficult. When someone hits a really good ball like that and you’re running toward your own net, it’s really difficult to defend.
"That’s why you don’t want set pieces around your box. I’ll take responsibility for that, but I think the ref and me will have to share the blame for that call.”
Still, the play was the downturn of a roller coaster few minutes for Ramirez, who had scored Minnesota's equalizer in the 66th minute.
“It’s the worst thing you can imagine,” Ramirez said of the emotional swing. “I hate being in that position to give that goal up. I’ll put the blame on myself for that. I don’t think we should put ourselves in the situation to let a set piece decide a game like that, after the way we performed in the second half.
“We can’t keep telling ourselves that it was good enough, and be that team that everyone says, “You’re pretty good,” after they beat us. That’s the frustrating part.”
While Ramirez wanted to try and stay positive after the match, his disappointment was evident.
“I’ve just got to keep my head up," said Ramirez. "Hopefully I can stay away from defending set pieces for a little bit to get me out of that area.”